STILWELL'S COMMAND PROBLEMS. By Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland. (1955, 1985; 518 pages, 8 charts, 5 tables, 21 maps, 45 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 9-2.)
This volume continues the CBI story from October 1943 through General Stilwell's dramatic recall in October 1944. In 1943 the President, overruling the War Department, decided that China-based air power, supplied by air over "the Hump," was a better investment in aid to China than General Stilwell's plans for strengthening, reforming, and employing Chiang Kai-shek's armies, and General Stilwell therefore decided in October 1943 to concentrate his efforts on the India-Burma scene. But his "command problems," already extraordinary, were further complicated by his designation as Deputy Commander, under Lord Mountbatten, of the Southeast Asia Command, and by his responsibility for providing logistical support to the B-29s based in China, as well as to General Chennault's Fourteenth Air Force. During this period the project that was most demanding on General Stilwell's attention finally got under way-the campaign in north Burma to gain control of Myitkyina, to clear the route for the Ledo Road and a pipeline to China, and, in cooperation with the British, to unhinge the Japanese defense of Burma.
The authors sketch the strategic background of this controversial campaign and the Anglo-American debates over it at the Cairo Conference and later. (See also Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare: 1943-1944.) They then describe the campaign in north Burma, with detailed attention to the exhausting thrust of Merrill's Marauders, the major U.S. ground combat force in the theater, to Myitkyina and the long struggle to occupy and hold the town.
In the summer of 1944 Stilwell had once more to give his full attention to China, when the Japanese launched a large-scale offensive and Chiang's forces were unable to prevent them from overrunning Chennault's airfields. Stilwell's proposal, supported by the President, was to put Stilwell in command of the threatened Chinese forces, including some Chinese Communist units that were fighting the Japanese. When Chiang refused to accept Stilwell, the President recalled him. The volume concludes with a well-documented account of these dramatic events, including the mission of General Hurley to China as the President's representative.
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